On the Radar

Check ON THE RADAR regularly each week to read the latest reporting by award-winning WASHINGTON WEEK panelists.

January 25, 2012

Analysis: Obama Speech Puts Him in Campaign Arena

By Charles Babington, Associated Press

President Barack Obama, having watched his Republican adversaries pound him for weeks, got his turn Tuesday, using his State of the Union speech to land the first major counterpunch of the still-forming 2012 election. It came before a prime-time audience of millions that the GOP candidates can only envy, even if their fiery debates are turning heads.
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Hostage Rescued in Somalia Raid

With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

Navy SEALs parachuted into one of the world's most dangerous places.

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State of Hope—Or an Illusion?

By Jim Tankersley, National Journal

The American economy is better off today than it was three years ago. It could be much better off than it is. Indicators suggest that growth may be finally ready to take off from its post-recession bumps along the runway—but then again, that’s how the indicators looked this time last year.
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McCain: GOP Debates are 'Damaging' to Nominee

By Susan Davis, USA TODAY

Former presidential nominee John McCain is part of a growing chorus of leading Republican voices who worry the exhaustive lineup of GOP primary debates will be harmful to the eventual nominee.
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Obama Stresses Fairness in Building Durable Recovery

By Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics

President Obama, accused by his Republican opponents of making a rocky economy worse, used his third State of the Union address to argue to tens of millions of prospective voters that he is the leader with the passion for fairness, and the policy vision, to deliver an "America built to last." The president wrapped that phrase around his efforts to revive an economy still deeply shaken by a housing bubble, corporate excesses pegged to complex financial bets and borrowed money, and rules seemingly rigged against the little guy.
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SOTU: Obama on the Economy

WIth David Wessel, Wall Street Journal

The President spoke about the state of the American economy Tuesday night in his third State of the Union address.

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Supreme Court Rorschach Test on Voting Rights

By Joan Biskupic, USA TODAY

As state legislatures have increasingly used sophisticated computers to draw voting maps configured to their political interests, districts have taken on odder shapes and prompted cracks about Rorschach ink blots. Friday’s Supreme Court decision in the Texas voting rights case offered its own kind of Rorschach test.
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Obama Makes Populist Pitch

By Laura Meckler and Carol E. Lee, Wall Street Journal

President Barack Obama offered Americans a populist economic vision in his State of the Union address Tuesday, seeking to draw a contrast with his eventual Republican rival and demonstrating the widening policy gulf between the two political parties.
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Gingrich Wants to Hear his Debate Fans Roar

By Sam Youngman, Reuters

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, coming off one of his most subdued debate performances of the campaign, signaled on Tuesday he may skip future debates unless his supporters are given full license to clap, cheer and roar. Gingrich complained that NBC News moderator Brian Williams had told the crowd to be silent before Monday's debate in Tampa in an effort to stifle free speech and prevent the audience from turning on the media.
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State of the Union? More Like State of the Campaign

By John Harwood, New York Times

Republicans have good reason to believe that President Obama’s goals in his State of the Union address on Tuesday night were more partisan than presidential. Mr. Obama has shifted into full-bore campaigning. He expects little from Congress this year beyond the extension of existing payroll tax cuts. His highest-profile initiatives are designed to enhance his re-election prospects.
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President Obama delivers his State of the Union Address to Congress (CNN)

Mitt Romney Tax Returns Make Him a Personal Embodiment of GOP Tax Policy

By Lori Montgomery and Jia Lynn Yang, Washington Post

With the release of his tax returns Tuesday, Mitt Romney has emerged as Exhibit A in a political battle likely to define the 2012 election: how to tax the rich. To Democrats, Romney is benefiting from an unfair tax code that permits a man who made nearly $21 million last year to pay just 15 percent in federal taxes. In his State of the Union address Tuesday, President Obama said those earning more than $1 million a year can afford to pay more and should send at least 30 percent of their income to Washington.
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The Swing States of Our Union Are Strong

By John Dickerson, Slate

In the 2011 State of the Union, the president used the phrase "win the future" or a variant over and over and over again. A year later, the future is not won, but the slogan has lost. "Built to last" was the message for the 2012 State of the Union speech. Despite continued unsteadiness in the economy, the slogan-manufacturing sector is healthy.
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January 24, 2012

Gingrich Releases Freddie & Fannie Deal

With John Harwood, CNBC

GOP candidate, Newt Gingrich released his consulting contract with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.


What exactly would President Obama do in a second term?

By John Harris and Carrie Budoff Brown, Politico

Take this quiz: If President Barack Obama wins a second term, he has promised that he will do … what exactly? There are people who follow the president closely who couldn’t answer that question. And even those who try would surely find themselves disagreeing with one another.

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Tracking Suspects via GPS

By Pete Williams, NBC News

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Analysis: Romney tries pit bull approach in Fla.

By Charles Babington, Associated Press

Mitt Romney spent years building a presidential candidacy based on corporate success, a squeaky clean image and an aura of electability that let him focus on President Barack Obama rather than his GOP rivals. South Carolina Republicans destroyed that strategy in an instant, saying they see Newt Gingrich, not Romney, as the man best positioned to beat Obama. Romney, who cast aside several moderate positions after leaving the Massachusetts governorship, repositioned himself in a more tactical sense Monday, tearing into Florida like a hungry underdog.

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Obama to Submit Budget to Congress Feb. 13

By Julianna Goldman and Roger Runningen, Bloomberg

President Barack Obama will submit his proposed fiscal 2013 budget to Congress on Feb. 13, an administration official said. The election-year proposal, a reflection of Obama’s policies, will outline proposed revenue and spending plans for the year that begins Oct. 1, along with deficit, inflation, unemployment and economic growth forecasts.

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Mitt Romney’s tax returns shed some light on his investment wealth

By Lori Montgomery, Jia Lynn Yang and Philip Rucker, The Washington Post

Mitt Romney offered a partial snapshot of his vast personal fortune late Monday, disclosing income of $21.7 million in 2010 and $20.9 million last year — virtually all of it profits, dividends or interest from investments. None came from wages, the primary source of income for most Americans. Instead, Romney and his wife, Ann, collected millions in capital gains from a profusion of investments, as well as stock dividends and interest payments.

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Bipartisan seating unlikely to mask divide in Congress

By Susan Davis, National Journal

As part of an assignment for a history class, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's son has to monitor where lawmakers are seated during President Obama's State of the Union Address tonight. "I'm sure it is part of this, 'We're all sitting together" tradition," Cantor said Monday.

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Mark Kelly to Join First Lady for State of the Union

By Helene Cooper, The New York Times

Capt. Mark Kelly, the husband of Representative Gabrielle Giffords, will sit with Michelle Obama in the first lady’s box at Tuesday’s State of the Union speech, Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said on Monday. Ms. Giffords, an Arizona Democrat, is expected to attend the speech along with other lawmakers. She announced on Sunday that she would resign her seat this week in order to focus on her recovery after an assassination attempt in Tucson a year ago.

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